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Feb. 21 Friday of the Sixth Week of Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Peter Damian, bishop and doctor, Opt. Mem.

St. Peter Damian, a man of vehemence in all his actions who was brought up in the hard school of poverty, found that he had the vocation of a reformer. He exercised it in the first place against himself as one of the hermits of Fontavellana in about 1035, but he did not remain for long hidden in his cell: his colleagues soon made him their abbot (1043). In 1057, Stephen IX made him Cardinal Bishop of Ostia. By his preaching and writings he was one of the valuable collaborators of the eleventh century popes in their great work of reform. Pope Leo XII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1823. His feast is celebrated on February 23 according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Cardinal Becciu denies use of charity money for London property deal (CNS)

Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu oversaw the internal affairs of the Roman Curia as Substitute (Sostituto) of the Secretariat of State from 2011 to 2018. Pope Francis created him a cardinal in the 2018 consistory, and Cardinal Becciu is now Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Fight against bonded labor, India's bishops urge (International Catholic Migration Commission)

“In India, some 40 million children, women and men are trapped in bonded labor, a form of modern-day slavery,” according to the report. “Despite being outlawed, the practice, also known as debt bondage, remains common … Individuals [are] unable to pay off debts they have contracted, and their families are forced to work for little or no salary, often for generations.”

Bishop laments lack of security in Nigeria (Fides)

“Human beings are being slaughtered regularly by terrorists who are suspected to have targeted the Christians,” said Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafo of Awka. “Security of life and property can no longer be guaranteed in Nigeria.” The nation of 209 million (map), the most populous in Africa, is 46% Muslim, 46% Christian (36% Protestant, 10% Catholic), and 7% ethnic religionist.

United Arab Emirates, UN agency fund reconstruction of Iraqi church (Fides)

Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates (map), which Pope Francis visited in February 2019.

'We continue to carry that cross': Coptic prelate reflects on 2015 ISIS beheading of Christians in Libya (Christianity Today)

Five years after ISIS jihadists beheaded 21 Christians in Libya, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London said, “The interesting thing is, we live it with a sense of resilience, but we have never fallen into a state of victimhood or triumphalism. We realize that it is the cross of Christ.”

US, Canadian, Latin American bishops meet in Tampa (CELAM (Spanish))

At their four-day meeting at the Bethany Center, the bishops are discussing the Amazon, evangelization, political crises in Latin American nations, the crisis and renewal of clergy, the work of Caritas Internationalis, migration, pastoral work with youth, and the role of retired bishops.

3 cardinals call on EU bishops to accept refugees from Lesbos (COMECE)

In 2016, Pope Francis visited the Greek island of Lesbos (Lesvos), to which thousands of refugees have fled (map).

Boy Scouts seek bankruptcy, urge victims to step forward (AP)

“More than 12,000 boys have been molested by 7,800 abusers since the 1920s, according to Boy Scout files revealed in court papers,” the Associated Press reported. (The 2004 John Jay report found that 4,392 priests were accused of sexually abusing 10,667 minors between 1950 and 2002.)

70 Christians attacked in Tamil Nadu (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

The southern Indian state (map) is nearly 88% Hindu, 6% Christian, and 6% Muslim.